Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony says that his ministry uncovered a crisis in the public health system after his ministry discovered an exorbitant quantity of expired drugs and medical supplies in the Material Management Unit (MMU). These expired items, the minister is alleging, were ‘inherited’ from the former David Granger regime’s stewardship of the sector.

“In August 2020, when we took over, what we found was that the Materials Management Unit was filled to brim with medication that were mostly expired, and we were unable to use them. The MMU and other warehousing facilities of the Ministry of Health and within the Regions we didn’t know what was the stock level and the electronic system that we have at the MMU was dysfunctional – it wasn’t working for a while, and therefore, management of medicines coming in and out we weren’t certain what was happening,” he said during a news conference today.

The Minister noted that more that 80% of the MMU bond space was occupied with expired medicines and supplies, and the ministry has been working with the Food and Drug Department to dispose of these items.

“To create space at the MMU, we had to dump close to $1B of expired medicines between August and September last year. Unfortunately, between October and the current time, we also had to continue dumping medicine because, as we discovered, many of the other items would have expired. We’ve estimated that between October to now, another billion dollars or so of expired items, had to be thrown away. In fact, when you look at it, we’ve had about 300 truckloads of expired medicine that we had to throw away. And this, of course, is very costly to the country; to all of us as taxpayers when we buy these things, and we can’t use them.”

Dr Anthony revealed that from 2015, close to $10B worth of medicines had to be thrown away.

“So, this is quite a significant sum of money where we purchased these medicines; they were sitting in the bonds, expired there, and nobody benefitted from it. So, it’s really a crisis we’ve inherited in terms of medicines and supplies,” he said.


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